Demand Responsive Service (DRS)
DRS is a simple concept.
Step 1: An express bus drops
off riders at a work cell transit center.
Vans and mini-buses wait with no preset route or destination.
Step 2: Riders line up at six
feeder route markers.
Step 3: Vans are dispatched to take
small groups. Mini-buses take larger groups.
The six feeder routes fan out from the TC (transit center) to all
parts of the cell.
Since all rides are requested electronically, a dispatcher knows how
many people are there and how long they have waited.
Wait time would average 5 minutes.
You still get a van if you are the only one at a route marker and
have been waiting 12 minutes.
If no one is waiting then no van is sent, and no cost is incurred.
About 16,000 van trips would be required per day at a cost of $60
million per year.
This would be paid for by Capital Metro out of the $160 million a
year they collect from the penny sales tax.
Riders pay 35 cents a mile.
The large number of van trips, 16,000, is based on running a trip
every 5-12 minutes for 18 hours a day.
This means the maximum wait at a transfer is 12 minutes.
For many existing Capital Metro routes the maximum wait time is 30
Van drivers have to be able to run all routes.
Van driver Kate picks up the East (E) route
riders at 8 pm
Later that Night
Later that night, at 8:30, Kate picks up the Northwest
DRS with a dispatcher aided by computer display:
Take the above concept and add electronic ride request. If
each rider enters a request, then the
dispatcher can see how long each rider has waited and how many are
waiting for each route.
The single red waiter at route NE has waited almost 12 minutes so he
is the first to get a van.
Then SW gets a van next because the two orange waiters have waited 6
to 8 minutes.
With 16 waiters route W is third to get a vehicle.
Transit Center Layout
The transit center would be an enclosed, air conditioned space with
other amenities. Riders would wait inside a gate for a feeder route
They would pay fare electronically to enter the gate.
Entering Ride Requests
Two types of ride requests can be made at a TC: new location and
Since most riders will be going to the same work place every day,
they will be making requests for their default location.
All they need to do is scan their transit card, on a card reader,
when entering their usual gate.
The system will assume they want to go to their default location
(regular job site).
The transit card will have an RFID tag inside it.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards have been used for
years, on security badges,
for people to open doors on secure buildings.
The transit card gains them access to the gate by activating a
Cash would not be required. Instead riders would have the fare
deducted from their account.
When riders enter that gate and scan their cards on the way in, the
dispatcher can see
how many are going out on that route and how long they have
The gate could have a serpentine walkway, with seats, that would
preserve the waiting order, yet still allow riders to sit while they
Serpentine walkways are used at airports and amusement parks to
compact a long line into a smaller area.
The other possibility is that the rider is going to a new location.
They will have to enter a ride request on a ride request terminal.
A touch screen map display on the terminal would enable riders to
search for locations.
They would be able to zoom in on different areas of the city, or
they could do a text based search.
They could type in “mall” and get a list of all the shopping malls.
Then just pick from this list.
Once they have picked a location the next step is to print a ticket.
The ticket is a slip of paper with details on which gates to wait in
and which TCs they will go through.
It would also have the date, destination, price, and the rider’s
Waiting For Your Ride
Twenty riders would pay fare electronically to enter the gate and
then board quickly, through both doors, when the bus arrives.
This would be like a subway. No fare collection would be required at
the door to the bus, speeding up boarding.
Riders would be able to sit while waiting at the gate.
They could view an overhead display to see when their bus, or van,
is due to arrive.
From Job to TC
The DRS process outlined above would also work in reverse.
Riders at their work locations would call in ride requests in the
afternoon when they want to get from job to TC.
Riders would pick from a menu of preselected pickup times and
On most days it would be the same pickup point so the system would
“know” the callers default pickup stop.
An electronic voice would ask the caller to confirm their name and
that they wished to be picked up at the usual time and place.
So most ride requests made by cell phone would be as simple as
calling a 7 digit number,
listening to a brief message, and then confirming the arrangement by
hitting a single key.
The taxi-bus in Rimouski, Quebec operates in a similar fashion. All
trips are by taxi cab.
All rides are reserved by specifying a pre-designated pickup point
The service averages 2.7 riders per cab trip.
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